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Seafood Industry Supports Action Plan to Improve Workplace Health, Safety

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NEW ZEALAND - The New Zealand seafood industry has endorsed the Fishing Sector Action Plan which sets out specific actions to improve workplace health and safety in its sector.

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Representatives of the seafood industry were at the launch of the Action Plan in Wellington, along with the Minister of Labour, the Hon Kate Wilkinson and Associate Minister of Transport, the Hon Simon Bridges.

Doug Saunders-Loder, President of the New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen said the industry welcomed the three year Plan.

"Commercial fishing is by its very nature a dangerous occupation and while our industry has taken steps to reduce the risks, the Action Plan provides a further practical framework that is targeted on specific areas like vessel safety improvements, better understanding of risks and lifting crew competency," says Mr Saunders-Loder.

Andrew Branson, Chairman of the New Zealand Rock Lobster Industry Council said: "we acknowledge and accept responsibility for our own safety at sea in the same way that we do so for managing sustainable utilisation of our rock lobster fisheries resources.

"The Fishing Sector Action Plan provides our industry with a framework and tools to enable a greater level of self-management. This in turn further aligns the New Zealand rock lobster industry with an over-arching fishing industry strategy of managing our own ship'," says Mr Branson.

Mr Peter Bodeker, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council said the partnership approach of the Action Plan was critical to its success.

"The Plan has actively involved the industry through FishSafe, an industry-led body that is focused on creating safer working environments aboard New Zealand commercial fishing vessels," says Mr Bodeker.

"This shared leadership approach between industry and government is key to ensuring real and sustainable changes are made to our industry's health and safety performance."

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